Browsing: May-June 2009

May-June 2009

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FOR A CENTURY or more, it seemed impossible for literary biography to acknowledge a subject’s homosexuality, and this was due in part to the reticence of some writers to allow an accurate record of their private life to circulate. Before his death, for example, Henry James systematically burned all of his private papers and encouraged friends to destroy any letters that he had written to them. W. H. Auden specified that no biography be written of him …

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MY COPY of Susan Sontag’s Against Interpretation is forty years old and was published by Dell for 95¢. It was a time when literary criticism could be sold as a mass market paperback. A photo of Sontag takes up most of the cover. She is young and pretty, the skunk-like swatch of white not yet streaking her helmet of hair. She is wearing a jacket that covers her to her chin, and yet there is nothing doughty about her.

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From his new office in New York City, Weise discussed his vision for Alyson going forward and shared his views of the current state, as well as the recent history, of GLBT literature.

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… People in this part of Sub-Saharan Africa have some access to the Internet and young “gay” men visit websites where they are learning what it’s like to be homosexual in Western societies. Young gay men here are aware of the legalization of homosexual unions, and its related debates, in Europe and the U.S.

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What I almost never saw from my seat at my favorite haunt-the Café de Paris, chosen because, not attached to a hotel, it always attracted more Tunisians than tourists-were any signs of a visible, easily identifiable gay or lesbian culture.

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PIONEERING PHOTOGRAPHER, book publisher, and friend to a generation of artists and writers beginning in the 1890’s, F. Holland Day has not until recently received the respect he deserves. Scholarly essays and theses and a retrospective at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts in 2000 showed rising interest, but a new book finally does justice to Day’s achievement.

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EDWARD CARPENTER (1844-1929) was the most important early pioneer of gay liberation. Before him, writing in German, Heinrich Hössli had defended the “male love of the Greeks” (1836-38) and Karl Heinrich Ulrichs had decried the persecution of “male-male love” (1864-1880).

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